The miners are learning, Minecraft is more than placing blocks

One of the things I love about Minecraft is that it is a community and so much of what goes on in the game is determined by the community. With that in mind consideration must be given to ensuring that the community is constantly being supported and aligned with the the expectations that are central to it. We have clear expectations on our server that have been created by the students that are supported by them and are continually substantiated by them through participation and conversations.

This became even more evident over the last week. We have had a group of newbies enter our server. As you can expect when someone is new to an area, place, culture they are often aware of the expectations but this does not necessarily mean that they are inherent in their actions/play. As a consequence ‘slip ups’ occur. And yes, we have had our fair share of these recently. Sometimes these ‘slip ups’ are things that require a gentle reminder other times they have fairly significant impacts on others so there needs to be more than a gentle reminder put in place. These situations are learning curves for all involved as it is not just the person who has ‘slipped up’ that learns. On our server we have students and teachers involved along with parents watching that are also learning from others actions. This is where things get really exciting.

Ok, I need to put things into perspective. Please don’t think I enjoy reading copious amounts of logs to understand the inappropriate deed that took place, or that I want students to make mistakes where they encounter consequences that may cause them to have some time out from the server. What I do enjoy is seeing students who are mentors on the server being awesome citizens and parents expressing their appreciation of our processes, knowing things will be unpacked appropriately, not to mention their commitment in being present when their child is online to ensure that they can be supportive of their child’s learning. I also appreciate the time that students give to managing the server on a range of levels to support the culture to be maintained. The teachers on our server do unpack situations that occur and our aim is to support the students in building the culture that they have decided is appropriate for a learning space that operates 24/7, this takes considerable commitment. Our recent situation meant that 2 students, myself and Jo Kay spent time from 5:30pm to 10:30pm one evening collecting the data, all at different sites. After that the teachers of the students involved had to take that information and determine the best path to take in relation to the students involved.

Our aim is to provide a supportive online community that builds identity through providing learning moments to understand how that is connected to what you do online.


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